Recent community reports on autonomous platforms and Arctic observing [U.S. National Science Foundation, 2002; Proshutinsky et al., 2004; Rudnick and Perry, 2003] identify the development of under-ice navigation and telemetry technologies as one of the critical factors limiting the scope of high-latitude measurement efforts. Advances in autonomous platforms (profiling floats, drifters, long-range gliders, and propeller-driven vehicles) promise to revolutionize ocean observations, providing unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution for both short-duration process studies and multiyear efforts designed to quantify long-timescale environmental changes. This new generation of platforms facilitates access to logistically difficult regions where weather and remoteness challenge conventional techniques, making them attractive for polar regions. These platforms could provide persistent, high-resolution, basin-wide sampling in ice-covered regions and operate near the critical ice-water interface.
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